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Great basin seed

Great basin seed

Great basin seed

Restoration of rangelands in the Great Basin of the southwestern U.S. is taking a new direction as scientists seek to find the ideal seed stock — native seeds that are locally adapted to the conditions — to use for the many different ecosystems across the 70 million-acre expanse, according to the University of Nevada-Reno.

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Land managers have spent millions of dollars on seeds over the past decades to use in their restoration efforts, but all too frequently, they see only minimal results to repair damage from wildfire, introduction of invasive species or overgrazing. A new $500,000 project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food & Agriculture at the University of Nevada-Reno will use genetic studies and new seed stock and seeding strategies to find the most compatible seed and seed combinations for the various zones in the massive Great Basin. Land managers have spent millions of dollars on seeds over the past decades to use in their restoration efforts, but all too frequently, see only minimal results to repair damage from wildfire, introduction of invasive species or overgrazing. A new $500,000 USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture funded project at the University of Nevada, Reno will use genetic studies and new seed stock and seeding strategies to find the most compatible seed and seed combinations for the various zones in the massive Great Basin.

Parchman will be generating and analyzing population and landscape genomic data for the seven plant species across the Great Basin. Specifically, his lab will quantify landscape genetic structure to consider how the geographic scale of local adaptation may influence restoration outcomes and to quantify genetic diversity within populations, asking whether populations with greater diversity or gene flow make better sources than more isolated and genetically diverged populations. In the state of Nevada, which encompasses much of the Great Basin, more than 63 percent of the state was allocated to active grazing allotments in 2015. Proceeds from cattle and calf production accounted for 32 percent of Nevada agricultural revenue, with much production occurring on public rangelands. In addition to providing forage for livestock, these agro-ecosystems also support a wide variety of native plants and wildlife, including rare species and species of concern, such as pygmy rabbits, sage-grouse and other wildlife highly dependent on native perennial vegetation. (Source: www.eurekalert.org)

 

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